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Congress Alert

Does the House Leadership Really Want to Rein In Obama?


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The House GOP leadership talks a lot about "reining in" President Obama's abuse of executive powers; yet last week they blocked two amendments to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have rolled back President Obama's power to violate our civil liberties and unilaterally keep US troops involved in overseas military actions.

Last week, Representatives Cynthia Lummis (WY-At-Large) and Raúl Labrador (ID-01) submitted an amendment to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act prohibiting the President from indefinitely detaining American citizens. Representatives James McGovern (MA-02), Walter Jones (NC-03), and Adam Smith (WA-09) also submitted an NDAA amendment requiring the President to "...determine and inform Congress by March 31, 2016, for what purpose and for how long U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan; and for Congress to vote on that determination 30 days afterwards."

Neither of these amendments was made in order by the House Rules Committee (aka “the Speaker's Committee”), so they were not debated nor voted on by the full House. One might think it was because the Rules Committee did not want to prolong the debate on NDAA with a lot of amendments... except the Committee made 171 amendments in order.

If I were cynical I would almost think the House Leadership blocked these amendments because they support allowing the President to unilaterally detain American citizens and send troops into combat on his say-so and were afraid they would lose those votes. But they would never use the Rules process to block pro-civil liberties amendments because they opposed them would they? Oh that's right, they did that on the USA FREEDOM Act.

Reprinted with permission from Campaign for Liberty.
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